Pastor Emily Nesdahl's sermon:
Brothers and sisters in Christ, grace and peace to you from God our Father
and from our living Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Kathy was such a dear, wonderful woman. Beloved by so many.
There were so many things that people loved about her.
She was a great friend. She had quite a few longtime,
She shared stories about Halloween celebrations that you all had together.
She cherished those friendships. When she moved to Burlington, really not
that long ago, after Jim died, she quickly made friends in the community,
sharing her love of cooking and hospitality with them, and although
relatively new, she treasured these friendships.
And her cooking. Who here has had the pleasure of eating Kathy’s
cooking? My word, she was a great cook. And she used that love and that
gift to teach others. I swear, at least once a week I use my “From Kathy’s
Kitchen” cookbook. It is quickly getting worn and tattered in my kitchen from
so much use.
Kathy showed her love for people through food, and I know Sarah
shares that same love and joy for cooking and feeding people.
But Kathy is not the only one who showed her love by feeding people.
In the lesson read today from the book of Isaiah, we are told of a feast,
prepared by God. And here’s kind of what happens. The people of God
have had some tough times. Life has not been easy for them. And they
wonder if God really loves them or is really in their lives. So God takes
them up onto this high mountain. And what does he do? He feeds the
people. God shows his love for the people first by feeding them. God
prepares this great feast. Meat and wine and probably caramels and
Kathy’s spaghetti sauce and fried chicken and my personal favorites her
roasted broccoli and cranberry cake with butter sauce the
stuff. God just lays out this huge rich feast. And then God says to his
people I love you so much here’s what I am going to do. I am going to
destroy death. I am going to wipe away every tear from your eyes. I will
remove all your disgrace.
God’s first sign of love to his people is food and that sign is followed
by this promise, that one day death will be destroyed and you won’t have
anything to cry about ever again. And the people say, “Surely this is God.
He has saved us.” The people had wondered if God loved them, and
God’s sign that he loves them is this meal. God shows his love by feeding
And God continues to feed his people throughout the rest of
Scripture. In Psalm 23 there’s this great image of a person who is being
tormented by enemies, and what does God do? God prepares a feast for
the person right between them and their enemies.
Kathy’s love of feeding people is a Biblical practice. It comes from a
place of deep faith and deep connection with a God who feeds us.
Another of her loves was her grandsons. Oh boys, she desperately
loved you, and one of her greatest joys was to spoil you. To take you to the
Dairy Queen right before dinner and let you get large blizzards or whatever
you wanted. She loved you so much and talked about you all the time.
But perhaps my very favorite thing about Kathy was that she was just
a bit I
don’t know how else to say it she
was just a bit I don’t know naughty.
Not like bad, but kind of naughty.
Like you never really knew what was going to come out of her mouth.
She was smart and quickwitted,
and I see that in you Allison. She had a
wicked sense of humor and she was always very blunt. She didn’t mince
words or try to make nice. She was just her, and never apologized for it.
She lived life on her own terms. She was a devoted woman of faith and
cherished member of this church and of Bethany, but I don’t think anyone
would ever say she was a stereotypical “church lady”.
And, I think, she could be this way sort
of a little naughty because
of her faith. She had a living, even daring, confidence in God’s grace. She
knew, without a doubt, that God loved her not for being really “good” all the
time, but because of Jesus. Not her words or her actions could save her,
only faith in Jesus Christ. She knew that life is all grace. And she trusted in
that grace in her life and in her death.
Even her death was an act of complete faith and trust. In her last
nurse came into the hospital room where she lay with an
oxygen mask over her face, and when the nurse said, “That oxygen mask
is keeping you alive. You need to keep it on.” Kathy turned, and looked at
the nurse and others in the room square in the eye, and threw the oxygen
mask on the bed. That was an act of true faith. She had absolute trust that
she would be in God’s care it
was all grace. She fully trusted that through
the grace of God given to us in Jesus she
would be taken to God’s
kingdom to be with God and all God’s saints in heaven most
of all Jim.
She had a daring confidence in God’s gracious love.
And that grace was given to her in her baptism. At baptism, God
claimed her as his own child, and promised her the gift of forgiveness and
eternal life and love through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
Christ. She trusted that promise in life and in death.
And so today we give thanks that Kathy has claimed eternal life, she
sits at God’s feast and resides in God’s home, and we find hope in the
promise that we will one day meet again because of the grace and love of